Imago Dei Photography » Oregon Coast Wedding Photography based in Tillamook Oregon

15 years ago……

fifteen years ago

15 years ago we were still in our teen years.  I had just graduated High School a year before and was attending community college in Seattle- a six hour drive from where Josh was finishing his Senior year of High School in the little town where we both grew up.  Living 6 hours away brought us closer to the realization that we were ready.  Fully ready for marriage and life together.

That Winter Josh graduated early so that come February we would wed.  I moved back home and began wedding preparations with my mom-in-law helping every step of the way.  Most of our family were very supportive of our decisions.  I think gracious is the correct word, for now looking back, I don’t know how I might react to teenagers getting married at 19 and 18 years of age!!  I’m so thankful for the support we received early on that helped protect our young love when everyone else around us told us – warned us that we would not last and that we were simply too young……

Soon after our walk down the isle we moved to Portland so that Josh could attend Multnomah Bible College. We grew there.  We flourished.  We made a home. We grew up.  Together.

A few years down the road we brought home a baby and a few years more we were gifted with another.

That year we took an assignment with Village Missions and arrived at our first church to intern with a seasoned pastor.  Holding hands and clinging to each other through each transition of life from high school to moving out to the city, to serving in our first ministry roles, to becoming parents and of course each challenge that no one tells you of when you first get married.  Arriving at our first church I remember feeling so much joy that finally what we had been working towards for many years was finally here.  No one prepares you for the highs and lows of ministry. Of life for that matter. They try to tell you of them but there are no words to accurately express those mountain top highs and those desert lows. No one can quite prepare you with words.  But there also are no words to tell you of the joys and how your heart will feel it might burst with thankfulness from each blessing down the road.  No one tells you.

10 years in ministry, 15 years of marriage 17 years of life and change and joy and laughter and tears and crushed dreams and blessed adventure.  There just aren’t any words to express. No one tells you.  So if you are just starting out, believe me the journey is worth it and more.  It’s not always easy and sunshine- don’t let anyone fool you.  But the journey is rich.  It is joy. It is wonderful and beautiful–  It is a blessing.

I recently have discovered Andrew Peterson.  One thing you should know about me; I love music.  As in love.  Love may not even be the right word.  I am a bit obsessed.  I pour over lyrics.  I disect them.  I pour myself in emotion of the strings.  I cry.  I dance.  I damage my ears drums and burst out our car speakers {accidentally} simply because I can’t get enough of those lyrics.  I swear I’m not weird!

Back to the story of us….and Andrew Peterson, I love his music.  I love the sound but more importantly I love the stories that bring life to the notes.  When I first heard this song, I got goosebumps thinking this is exactly the story of love.  Of marriage and sailing through high wind storms. Of sharing life as we lay our own down. Of dancing in minefields……..  This post is for you love.  Thank you for dancing with me to silly tunes. Thank you for dancing with me even when the tune slows and our feet hurt so hard from the journey and our load is so heavy we cannot stand straight.  Thank you for holding on tight through the wind and the rain that poured so heavy we couldn’t see through the thick of it all. Thank you for holding me up when I just wanted to sit it out.  Thank you for your kind love that bears patiently when I am less than worthy.  And thank you for always reminding me of my worth.  I love you more.  ~Xiomara

  • Amber Rocha - <3ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Dales - What a beautiful story!! And Andrew Peterson’s music is the best!! Dancing In The Minefields is one of my long time favorite songs….my two best friends walked out to it after they got married :)ReplyCancel

  • Carol Marie Leuthold - Wonderful of you to share, Xiomara; thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Josh-Xiomara Gard - It has been great growing up with you! It is funny how mature we both thought we were when we got married when we look back at those early pictures. It has been a wonderful journey that I don’t regret a moment of though. We have had a lot more sunshine than rainy days and the worst rainy day is better with you than the best sunshine without you. You always say you are blessed but I am very blessed by you and by the life we have together. God has been very good to us both but I think he has been kinder to me than to you since I get to be married to you! And just a note about the video – I’m pretty sure I eventually won that squirt gun fight that started in my mom’s kitchen.ReplyCancel

  • Gabe And-Sasha Bizeau - Thanks for sharing! Love this song and your beautiful story. Couldn’t agree more – the journey is worth it! Happy 15th!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie - Beautiful post, wonderful words & the perfect song! I loved seeing all the pictures of you, Josh and the kids in younger years…so adorable. Congrats on 15 years and here’s to many more!ReplyCancel

    • Xiomara - Thank you friend! Here’s to growing old with our sweet men beside us and our adorable (cause you know they are) kiddos by our side!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathy Willis Robitsch - Beautiful storyReplyCancel

  • Lisa Jump - Absolutely beautiful!! What a perfect song…and beautiful tribute to your marriage! Inspiring!ReplyCancel

    • Xiomara - Thank you Lisa. It’s all the grace of God for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa McKibbin - What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing Xiomara.ReplyCancel

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